USA Travel Bucket List


Looking at my travel bucket list, it's mostly all international destinations but during these Covid times I have become more aware of how much the United States has to offer.  This is a large country which means you have a variety of activities available for all kinds of travelers.  While I have crossed off a few items on my personal list, such as watching the sunset at Haleakala and catching a show at the Grand Ole Opry, here are 10 places I look forward to experiencing one day.

1. Yellowstone National Park 

Do you love wildlife and awe-inspiring nature?  Me too!  Yellowstone has one of the largest concentrations of mammals which include moose, elk, bison, and bears so I'm sure you won't be disappointed if it's animals you're looking forward to seeing.  And I've heard if you're lucky you may even spot the elusive lynx.  
The natural landscape looks almost out of this world with its geysers, hot springs, and Old Faithful.  Yellowstone also has a strong Native American history, something I would love to learn more about while visiting such an iconic place.

2. Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

If you've been on a hot air balloon then you know how exciting it is to see it blown up and then to take off.  Depending on where you are, you may see a few other balloons flying around you, so imagine being surrounded by hundreds!  Not only does this look otherworldly, it's during my favorite month of October when the skies are super blue and the morning air crisp.  

3. Charleston, NC

History, cuisine, boutique hotels, arts & culture, this city has it all (at least for me).  This is a great place to explore by foot or by horse carriage while taking in the sights of large colonial homes.  There are many fun tours to choose from based on your interests such as culinary tours, haunted homes tours, pirate tours, and nature tours.  

Where I would stay: Zero George Street Hotel

Luxury boutique hotel where you are welcomed with a glass of bubbly before checking into one of their 16 suites.  Pick up one of their complimentary bicycles to ride along the cobble stone streets.


4. Alaska

I know, Alaska is HUGE but it has so many things I want to do from visiting Denali National Park in the north to seeing the Kenai Fjords and Glacier Bay in the south.  I've also become quite obsessed with this state from planning trips for my clients.  You can choose to travel by land or water...or helicopter!  There are so many ways to explore depending on your plans and luckily I work with some great suppliers to assist in this.  A few more things on my list for when I finally get there are: dog sledding, looking for moose, whale and orca watching, kayaking to a glacier, seeing the Northern Lights, and taking a rail tour.  I may need a couple of trips...

5. Savannah, GA

I've always been intrigued by Savannah.  I don't know if it's the rich history, the squares, or the stories of haunted places.  I don't think I've come across so many ghost tours while researching a city!  One of these tours would definitely make it on my itinerary but much of my time would be dedicated to museums and the many historical sites.

Where I would stay: Perry Lane Hotel

Tucked in a quiet area within walking distance to the Historic District.  There is a destination amenity fee which includes curated touches like daily fresh cookies, bike rentals, and a car service in the Historic District.

6. Lenox, MA

My number one reason for choosing this location, Fall Foliage.  I know that's pretty vague but just driving anywhere throughout New England during this time is magical.

Where I would stay: Blantyre

This is a Tudor-style mansion built in 1902 known for its impeccable service.  For you wine lovers, such as myself, they have an award winning wine cellar.

7. Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Walking on sand is not the easiest but I'm told the hike up these dunes is completely worth the effort.  Being the tallest dunes in the country, by making it to the top you will be rewarded with endless panoramic views of these dunes.  

8. White Sands National Park, New Mexico

I remember learning about this place while watching a documentary and thinking how exotic and faraway it must be, only to learn it's in New Mexico!  Since then, this place with the beautiful white sand has been on my mind .  From what I've read it seems to be a place most people stop to visit during a road trip, with El Paso being the closest main city.  

One tip that was consistent in everything I read: wear sunglasses!

9. Saratoga, WY

A luxury dude ranch situated on 30,000 acres of Rocky Mountain wilderness?  Sign me up.  The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek is a perfect getaway for those looking for that classic Western experience.  Choose from many activities such as horseback riding, rock climbing, fly fishing, hiking, ATV adventures, cooking classes, and archery to name a few.  I would easily spend a week at this all-inclusive ranch.

10. New Orleans, LA

I'm surprised I have not been here yet especially since it's considered one of the most international cities in the U.S.!  While I'm sure Bourbon Street and Mardi Gras are a good time, I would love to attend a few jazz concerts and the architecture and historic buildings are a photographers dream.  For a little detour, why not do a swamp tour?

Where I would stay: The Roosevelt New Orleans, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel

New Orleans is a city that calls for a stay at an historic hotel.  The Roosevelt, which is located in the French Quarter, has been around for over 100 years.  A tip I learned is to try the world's first mixed drink at the Sazerac Restaurant.

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Loved my hotel choices?  Book your Virtuoso hotel with Claudia Austin Travel to receive the following:

-Room upgrades (if available)
-Daily breakfast for 2
-Dining, resort, or hotel credits
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